Ask Dr. Anna

Train to Walk Your Dog, Walk to Train

walk your dogJanuary is Train Your Dog Month and Walk Your Dog Month! Even though that may sound like a bit much to fit all into one month, you can combine both activities to make each more fun than they would be on their own. I’ve decided to combine the two for myself and my dogs by putting a twist on the idea of a “fitness trail.” I’m going to add “obedience stations” to my usual dog-walking route. That way, my dog gets mental exercise along with our usual physical exercise.

 

 

 

 

How to train while you walk your dog:

The Loose-Leash Transit

This will be what we practice as we walk your dog from one station to the next. I’ll use change-of-direction and stop-and-go exercises, along with verbal communication and lots of food rewards. I won’t be asking for a strict “heel” position—just no pulling on the leash.

The Sit Station

At the first curve of the walking trail, I’ll stop and ask my dog to sit. Because there’s a yard with a barking dog nearby, I’ll make sure to make myself more interesting by offering more tasty food rewards.

The Down Station

At the second curve, we’ll stop, and I’ll ask my dog for a down. He isn’t a fan of lying down on hard surfaces, so we’ll take it nice and slow… and use more food rewards.

The Settle Station

On the bench along the path, I’ll have a seat and ask my dog to settle. All this means is that he needs to sit nicely while watching the world go by. Because that world is full of things that move quickly and smell interesting, I’ll keep using more food rewards to encourage him to hang out calmly for a bit.

The Focus Station

By the pond, we’ll take a moment to work on focus. There are ducks and geese that can be loud, so I’ll use my handy-dandy food rewards and keep up a stream of verbal communication to help my dog maintain his focus on me.

The Stay Station

When we get back to the car, we’ll work on a sit-stay before getting back in and going home. I wait until the end to practice this, so my dog is already a little tired. I won’t ask him to hold the stay for too long since I want to end our training walk on a positive note. I’ll give him food rewards during his stay, as well as at the end of it. I’ll maintain my focus on him and not increase my distance from him since there are still plenty of distractions around.

What are your favorite training games to play while you walk your dog? What other stations do you think would be beneficial to your pup along with his training walks?  Did you know that Guthrie Pet Hospital offers obedience classes and can help with any behavioral problems your dog might be having?  Contact us today for your appointment.

7 Steps To Litter Box Success

litter boxUrination or defecation outside of the litter box is the most common behavior problem of cat owners.  While occasionally these problems are related to health issues most of these problems are simple problems with the litter box that can be prevented. Continue…

Five Ways To Curb Feline Play Aggression

feline play aggressionI’ve seen several clients lately that are having problems with feline play aggression with their young kittens.  Feline play aggression can be a serious problem that destroys the human-animal bond and can lead to relinquishment later.

 

 

 

It helps to understand normal kitten play development to understand why feline play aggression occurs. 

  • From birth to weaning (8 weeks) kittens engage in social play where they interact with their mom and littermates.
  • From 8-10 weeks of age, kittens engage object play where they become interested in objects in their environment. They will pounce, chase, stalk, batt, swipe, bite and claw at objects which is an integral part of a kitten’s eye-paw coordination and hunting skills.
  • From 10-12 weeks of age, kittens engage in locomotion play where they develop their agility and balance skills.

Most kittens are acquired around 7-8 weeks of age; therefore, it is important to help and encourage them with object and locomotion play.  Unfortunately, I believe that indoor only kittens have less environmental stimulation than outdoor cats which is usually why feline play aggression occurs.   Most kittens that I see with feline play aggression problems are either bored or the owner is using their hands to play with the kitten.

Five ways to curb feline play aggression:

  1. Avoid using your hands while playing with kittens. Part of object play involves biting and clawing which can lead to injury to yourself.  Playing with your hands encourages the kitten to continue feline play aggression with your hands.
  2. Provide plenty of toys. Ideal toys for kittens include smaller objects that can be batted around or picked up with their mouth.  Avoid toys that are small enough to be ingested.  Wand toys that contain feathers or mice at the end are excellent toys to dangle in front of your kitten or drag along the floor to help them develop their predatory skills.
  3. Encourage your cat to explore and investigate their new environment without destroying your property by providing appropriate perches, scratching posts and lounging areas. Most cat towers supply all three of these things.
  4. If your kitten happens to bite or scratch you, yell “ouch” loudly and clearly. Slowly remove your hand.  If you move your hand too fast, your kitten may think it’s a toy and go after you again.
  5. Anytime your kitten is playing inappropriately, redirect their attention to something more appropriate. Engage in five to ten minutes of active play.

It all boils down to providing an enriched environment for your kitten, so they don’t get bored.  I recommend rotating toys and giving your kitten three different toys daily.

Dante and Me: A Dog Trainer’s Adventure With One Angry Parrot

 

parrotHere at Guthrie Pet Hospital, most folks are aware that we have two clinic cats—Sylvie and Felicia. Some people don’t know that there’s one other animal member of our clinic family. His name is Dante, and he’s a twenty-year-old Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot. Our clients are used to hearing him scream “hello,” “okay,” and “bye” as they move through the hospital. If you’ve ever met him, you’ve also probably been warned to keep your distance from his cage. You see, like many birds, Dante can be less than friendly with people he doesn’t know and trust. He’s also not opposed to biting people who get too close to his cage without his permission. This includes those of us who work at Guthrie Pet Hospital. Continue…

Silvi Interviews New Guthrie Pet Hospital Dr. Baldwin

Dr. BaldwinHello, Silvi here! As the official Cat of Guthrie Pet Hospital, I see a lot of stuff. I see puppy dogs and kitty cats and delivery people and clients and a couple of weird guys that come to steal our rugs every few weeks. There are lots of new faces every day. I don’t know if you have noticed, but we have had some new faces working at the clinic lately as well. We have Felicia, my apprentice clinic cat, who is still trying to get the lay of the land. She is doing a pretty good job for the most part, but she is still kind of a newb. I told her if she licked the windows it would make her look smart…she totally did it! I think she will fit in fine once she quits trying to climb Dr. Anna’s trees. Continue…

Guthrie Pet Hospital Wants To Thank Loyal Clients

Guthrie Pet HospitalGuthrie Pet Hospital is growing, and we appreciate your patronage.  To thank you for your loyal support, I want to make you aware of our new app and our loyalty program.

In May of 2017, Guthrie Pet Hospital developed an app for the clinic.  You can download the app on your Apple or Windows phone directly from the app store by searching for Guthrie vet.  The app pairs with our office software through your e-mail address, so it’s important to update your e-mail address with us.  Once you have downloaded the app, use your e-mail address as your login and enter a password.  Wait at least 24 hours for the app to sync with our office software.  Once the system has synced, your pets will be added into the app automatically.

 

What can you do with Guthrie Pet Hospital app?

  • View your pet’s vaccination history
  • Call the clinic directly from the app
  • View upcoming appointments
  • Request appointment
  • Request prescriptions for pick up at the clinic
  • Receive push notifications: You will receive notifications about upcoming appointments, once a month heartworm prevention reminder and our monthly special announcement.
  • Post your pet’s selfie to share with others
  • Search our extensive Pet Health Library for common health problems
  • Connect with us on our social media channel

You must have the Guthrie Pet Hospital app downloaded on your phone to use the loyalty program.  You will receive $100 credit on your account for every 16 stamps that you earn.

How to earn loyalty stamps:

  • One stamp for downloading the app
  • One stamp for every $100 spent on each invoice. TIP:  If you are checking out and owe $95.00 for your visit, buy your pet a toy or some treats to reach that $100.00 goal.
  • Watch for push notifications and monthly specials offering additional stamps

If you don’t have our app, please download and take advantage of all the great benefits and start earning your rewards today.  Contact Guthrie Pet Hospital if you are having trouble connecting and we will be happy to help you.

Is Your Senior Cat A Second-Class Citizen?

senior catDid you know that veterinarians see 50% fewer cats for annual wellness exams than dogs?  An even sadder statistic from a recent survey shows that 77% of cats over 12 years of age are not being seen in the 18 months before being euthanized.  This week I will discuss the difference between a senior cat and a geriatric cat and how you can help them before it is too late. Continue…

How To Care For Barn Cats During The Winter

barn catsIn a perfect world, all cats would live pampered lives inside homes designed for their specific needs, with runs and tunnels and high spots in every room. The reality is that not all cats are indoor cats, and not all cats are suitable pets. That is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat. A stray cat is one that has been a pet at some point and is easily reacclimated to living with humans. A feral cat is one that has never lived with humans and is self-sufficient for its food. Feral cats provide a vital service to humans in keeping down the rodent populations both in towns and farms. Programs that trap, neuter, and then release these cats back into the community sometimes relocate them to farms or warehouses where there is a specific need for rodent control. These are the working cats in our world, and they deserve respect and care. With temperatures starting to dip down into the 40’s at night now is a good time to start thinking about winter preparations for your outdoor working friends, the barn cats. Continue…

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